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BDS Boys State Team Runners-up

By GREG SCELLIN
Signal Editor

Heading into the last race of day, the Bruning-Davenport/Shickley boys 1,600-meter relay team knew what they had to do—beat the Fullerton squad by at least four places. This ended up being no problem, as the Warrior foursome started slow and finished slow—without a medal. But even the Eagle quartet's strong fourth-place finish in the race (3:34.3) ended up not being enough, as the 1,600-meter relay winners South Loup vaulted past BDS by one point to take the Class D boys team State Championship 38-37. Going into the final race in Omaha, Exeter-Milligan held the team advantage with 36.
"We heard their coach (Fullerton) tell them what they needed to do and that got me really pumped up," Eagle Karson Dickson said. "We also knew what we needed to do in the race."
Dickson started the race that sealed the State runner-up title. Brett Holtzen was up next and handed the baton to Garret Schardt. The BDS 110-meter high hurdle silver medalist Hunter Krehnke toted the baton to the tape.
"We've been tinkering with the race all year long and it ended up working today," Eagle head track coach Aaron Peterson said.  "Karson has really embraced the lead role and Brett always runs a smart race. And they know, Garrett and Hunter will take it from there."
BDS got off to a great start in the Omaha Burke Stadium slop as the pole vault duo of Thomas Mick and Chris Lichti went one-two on Friday. Thomas' win marked the ninth year in a row a member of the Mick family has won a pole vault event in Omaha.
"When I was jumping, I had no idea of that—I was oblivious to that," Mick said.  "Dad did it (pole vault) and obviously my sisters were good at it. He coaches us...takes us to camps...plus, we have taught each other too."
Though he had eclipsed 15-feet during the season, Mick cleared 13-10 in the far-from-ideal conditions on May 19 to win the event at the 2017 NSAA State Track & Field Championships. Lichti was four inches back at 13-6, which took second.
"That was a big thrill to go one-two with Thomas," Lichti said. "It was a goal of mine to do that. I was sitting third going in and I knew I could get second. It was just great."
The pole vault 1-2 finish gained 18 points.  Schardt also made the 200-meter dash final on Friday.
"Thomas and Chris gave us a great start," Peterson said. "Garrett making the 200 final...those little points do add up. With the conditions and everything, those guys did great on Friday. Coach Ship (Scott Shipley) and I were trying to do some of the math on Friday night on what could end up happening. At the end of the 1,600 relay, we were so excited.  We also knew that a teams in the slow heat had knocked Fullerton out."
And, the Eagles could have very easily picked up the two points necessary to get past South Loup.  In fact, Krehnke was well on his way to win his signature event, the 110 hurdles, before the first of many starts was cancelled due to timing difficulties.  Krehnke was almost on even terms with defending State Champion Lance Moore of Mullen by the third hurdle before the starter's gun fired again and again. In the event's second running, the quick-starting Moore gained a sizable advantage after the gun sounded.
"My season didn't end the way I wanted it to in the hurdles," Krehnke said.  "Yeah I was disappointed.  In the first start, I got out of the blocks perfect. I ended out starting really, really poorly after the second start. I got too far behind to catch him in the final four hurdles."
A senior, Krehnke won't be participating in track in college.
"This was the last time doing the hurdles for me," he said. "But, I had a great season...breaking school records and winning meets.  But, I was surely disappointed today, too."
The Eagle boys 400-meter relay squad of Mick, Krehnke, Holtzen and Schardt began things on Saturday with a fourth-place finish in 45.3 seconds. South Loup took third in this event, which was won by Giltner.
Mick, Schardt and Dickson are juniors, while Lichti, Krehnke, Holtzen and alternate Noel Gines are seniors.
"It feels really good getting second down here with only six of us," Mick said. "We knew we could be a factor if everybody did their best."
"We kind of planned it what we needed to do to get a trophy," Lichti said. "I'm so proud of the relay guys.  It took a minute to do the math, but then we knew we got a trophy."
Peterson and Shipley had it figured that it was going to take in the neighborhood of 40 points to win a state trophy.  Peterson also knew his team would come together and fight until the last point was tabulated.
"We felt the first team to 40 wins this," Peterson said.  "And we went through the possibilities. I just didn't want it to come down to a what-if or it could have turned out this way thing.  I also knew everyone would help each other out as a group.  They have been that way all year long. They take pride in supporting each other and celebrating each other's successes."